It can be all too easy for those in the public sector to regard the purchase and installation of life-safety equipment as a simple tick-in-a-box measure that allows them to remain compliant. However, given the growing number of automated life safety systems appearing in schools, hospitals and social housing across the country, it is vital that devices installed are 100% reliable, dependable and fit-for purpose.
The lives of patients, schoolchildren, staff and tenants within these buildings are, in essence, put in the hands of those in charge of choosing the systems. As an emergency system can fail with just one faulty component, specifiers and purchasers need to fully understand the development background and regulation requirements of the products they’re buying.
My recommended top-five considerations for those seeking to purchase fire-safety equipment for public sector buildings are:
1. What is the manufacturer’s product development process?
Understanding how fire-safety products progress from concept to delivery can provide key insight in determining the quality and reliability of systems. A robust product supply chain takes place over an extended period, involving many product prototypes and rigorous testing.
2. How are products tested to exceed your expectations?
In order to ensure optimum safety levels of fire-safety solutions, every element within a device should be individually tested for reliability and durability during the development process. The most reliable fire-safety manufacturers will test each product before its release.
3. How are compliance and safety standards assessed to meet your needs?
Specifiers are responsible for ensuring the devices they purchase are compliant with the relevant regulations. For example, products which ascribe to internationally recognised safety standards, such as IEC EN 61508 (defining Safety Integrity Levels – SIL), are the logical choice for purchasers of workplace safety systems. Choosing a manufacturer that stays at the forefront of the latest legislation will ensure only fit-for-purpose systems are installed, preventing any potentially expensive or dangerous breaches of regulation.
4. What preventative measures have been taken to reduce your involvement in after care?
By making the testing of individual devices standard in the supply chain, manufacturers ensure optimum product performance and long-term reliability. When a robust design process and a network of trusted partners is behind a system, the lifespan of products is maximised with only simple on-site maintenance required, once installed.
5. How is the supply chain audited to improve your experience?
In order for public sector buildings to remain compliant, it is important for specifiers to ensure that they have a ready supply of equipment at their disposal. Manufacturers who regularly have their management systems audited to the latest ISO standards are more likely to have efficient ordering and delivery systems to support critical time pressures.
By choosing fire-safety
manufacturers with transparent and robust supply chains, the public sector can ensure it continues to purchase and install the safest and most reliable fire and lighting safety equipment that safeguards its public.